Demand — and fares — for flights out of Moscow surge after Putin announces ‘partial mobilization’

According to Google Trends, there has been a significant increase in the number of people searching for “Aviasales” — the main driver of flight sales in Russia. The number has quadrupled in the last 24 hours.

A survey of one-way fares for the coming days to Belgrade, Tel Aviv and Istanbul shows prices doubling and tripling.

The website of Russian state carrier Aeroflot showed that only business class tickets were available for flights to Armenia on Wednesday. According to the Aviasales website late Wednesday, one-way flights from Moscow to the Armenian capital of Yerevan were available Thursday for $4,241 with multiple stops.

Aeroflot said in a statement: “Due to inquiries from passengers and the media, we would like to inform you that Aeroflot Group airlines are operating as usual. There are no restrictions on ticket sales.”

The surge in demand for flights out of the country followed Putin’s speech on Wednesday morning, in which he threatened to escalate his invasion of Ukraine. The “partial mobilization” of citizens means that those in reserve can be called, and Those with military experience would be subject to conscription, Putin said.

The Russian president announced a “partial mobilization” in a speech on Wednesday.


Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Russian television Wednesday morning that 300,000 reserves will be called up. Putin added that the relevant decree had already been signed and was in force.
The flurry of online searches for flights out of Russia may signal growing discontent over the Kremlin’s actions in Ukraine. On Monday, Russian pop legend Alla Pugacheva became the latest Russian celebrity to voice her opposition to the war. He called for “an end to Russian soldiers dying for illusory goals that make our country a pariah.”

While Putin’s speech on Wednesday has serious implications for parts of the Russian population, it also sent further warning shots to the West. The president said he would use “all the means at his disposal” and even raised the possibility of using nuclear weapons if he believes Russia’s “territorial integrity” is threatened.